Sunday, January 25, 2015

Grow Your Blog 2015

Welcome Everyone!
(picture heavy post so please be patient as the photos load)

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Today begins the long awaited 2015 Grow Your Blog hosted by the fabulous Vicki over at 2 Bags Full.  I believe, if memory serves, this is the 3rd year now that Vicky has generously hosted this wonderful party to bring more of the online arty-crafty sisterhood together.  Thank You Vicki and Big HUGS my sister in yarn!!! :D  But I am digressing a bit... if you don't know what I am talking about pop over to the link above and indeed that is probably a great place to begin as Vicky is the keeper of the "blog lists and links" of all of this year's participants.

You will see my blog listed in two places because I am not only a participant but also a helper.  That having been said if you have questions or problems you can also ask one of the "helpers" for assistance rather than having to wait for Vicky to be able to get around to you.  So, let the Party Begin!!!

You have arrived safely I see... please come in and have some tea and scones.  Feel free to wander about and any questions just ask.  I do hope you will leave me a comment so I know you have been here.  I will be out and about today as I make my rounds to your blogs! I can only invite you as far as the doorway of my studio today because of a mousie problem (you can read more about that here and here (if you are curious). Don't worry, plenty of photos are below to help tell my blogging story.

I almost forgot to mention that I am having a giveaway to accompany this party.  The winner will be picked randomly from those of you that leave me a comment that you were here.  It has been decided that all giveaways connected with our party will be announced on February 15th 2015.  So, make sure to leave me a comment and your blog url or email if you are a no-reply blogger so I can contact the winner.  The prize is a secret... as I am involved with so many different media I actually have not quite decided yet what the gift will be but I think you will love it no matter what I decide on, IMHO! (giggle)! No other requirement aside from a comment and blog url or email if you don't have a blog to be entered. One entry per person... duplicate comments will be removed in order to be fair.  I know you understand!  

Goodness, where are my manners?  My name is Beth (really Elizabeth but I'm just not good at being a Liz so I have stuck with my childhood name of Beth, named by my bestest ever friend way back when) :D  DH and I live in rural New Hampshire in a 100+ year old converted barn on an old farm in the woods down a long dirt road.  It is idyllic, especially when you consider that I was once a NYC girl!!!  Times do change (giggle). I love being a country girl!!!

As you can see by my blog photo, I am rather shy so my representative's photo is there in my place... a little kitten looking out at the camera with eyes filled with wonderment and curiosity, which is basically me minus the whiskers, fur and cute little paws :D

I dabble in so many different things it could make one's head spin, actually it does make me dizzy quite often.  I am one of those people that wants to experience the world's wonderful offerings and not really be concerned with becoming a master in any particular area. There is just so much out there I couldn't imagine just focusing my life on a single thing!  I get bored easily and I love learning new crafts and techniques so as another blogging sister - friend of mine put it, "...[m]y blog is a repository for memories of my experiences, my own personal therapist, and my playground, all rolled into one. It can be a bit of a messy place, at times, and I'm okay with that..."  In essence, my blog has no particular focus besides me talking to my cyber friends and sharing the joys of learning and creating within the confines of the online art sisterhood!  I often share links to links for great projects I find while on one of my frequent bloggy days, as I call them, as well as my home, my garden and my art. Okay, enough talking... let the tour begin:

 Did I mention we get a fair bit of snow in the winter? (giggle)

A couple of works in progress, a crocheted scarf out of 100% cotton yarn 
 Shawl in progress in raspberry and a heathered light blue yarn from Harrisville Designs.  Did I mention I live 5 minutes from them?  Very dangerous to live that close to such a great and famous yarn and weaving shop, plus mill!
 What would a converted barn be without a red door?

Our tiny kitchen (once upon a time not too long ago my blog was called Mossberry Cottage - long story for another time).

The beginnings of some weaving on my adjustable rectangle loom

My little writing corner on our porch.  It is quite cozy and a wonderful place to take a little summer snooze.

The sliding glass doors out to the screened in porch are right off the living room.  Of course what would an old converted barn be without some exposed beams?

Because the ceilings in our converted barn are only 7 feet tall having a true canopy bed didn't work out so this is my adaptation of one

My work-space set up in the bedroom where I pay bills and such

One of my favorite features of my house is this screened in 4 season porch.  I spend a great deal of time out there in the spring, summer and fall.  Winter is a bit more iffy but with a small space heater it is quite cozy.  And of course my wildflower garden that surrounds the porch.

 My Studio this past summer -  (for current photos look here)
when I installed the white cubical storage units on the right wall.  Yes, yes, I have a LOT of STUFF because I am involved in many different forms of arts and crafts, isn't everyone?  My big goal for my studio is to get everything off the floor and into storage bins to clean up that cluttered look and feel... it really makes me kind of crazy... can't work in messy places, lol!
Oh, the raven (yes, I know she is a crow but please don't tell her), sitting on my triangle handmade chandelier piece is "Nevermore" my faithful raven who watches over me and my studio.

This wall is/was my fabric storage for the most part and where the mice have gotten into.  You will see what I am talking about if you look at the post of my studio in devastation mode just below this post; and where everything has been pulled out, including the drawer towers, to be replaced with snap shut lidded see-thru storage bins.  As you can imagine I am in overwhelmed mode at the moment!

I don't know if you can see them but the purple cubicals on the bottom close to the floor, on either side of the bright green binder are full of yarn and yes the mice really did damage there so they are all being replaced as well. The pink cubical in the middle of the storage unit there contains my leather pieces for my jewelry making and believe it or not the mice got into there too!  I don't know what to do about that one but obviously I have to do something...

My copper kitty outside our front door with brrrrrrrr, frozen whiskers!

Did I mention that here in New Hampshire we don't mess around when it comes to our snow? (giggle)  This is my meadow to the left of my house. In the summer it is filled with wildflowers, quite lovely and wild.

 One of our recent snow storms... yes, those are snowflakes falling!!! (giggle)

Last year I became addicted to antique hand crank Singer sewing machines. I have 3 now, one is from 1891, 1914 and this is my main girl from 1918!  She sews beautifully, so much so that I sold my fancy dancy Bernina 1630 computerized model!  I have a little electric workhorse Brother Machine for fancy stitches for my quilts and for doing free-motion quilting.  I actually learned to hand quilt this past summer so I am gently taking some steps back into time... what fun!

A "Willow" pattern crocheted block for a throw for the sofa in the living room.
Only 17 more squares to go!  I love this pattern so much I actually have another one started in a lovely indigo blue but I have yet to decide on the trim color, perhaps a heathered grey or a dusty sea foam green?

Well my friends, that is the quick tour of some of the parts of my life here in the woods.  I have enjoyed having you here for a visit and do hope you will feel inclined to visit again.  The doors at the Whimsical Dowager are always open so do stop by anytime of day or night - even in your jammies. Isn't the Internet great? I didn't say perfect but we do have the power to make it a great and fun place... Don't forget to leave your comment to be entered in my giveaway.  If you don't have a blog just leave me your email address.

Hugs and I hope you thoroughly enjoy the rest of your 2015 Grow Your Blog Party!!!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Here Mousie, Mousie...

My new storage containers finally arrived and now the real work begins in the studio.  I thought you might like a few pictures rather than my whining words, :D

As you can see on the left wall is where all my fabric was stored and some of the damage has been going on.  I am having to pull out all those plastic drawer storage units and will be replacing them all with new plastic bins with snap shut lids.  I still have to pull out the last unit on the end at the back and check that fabric.  I couldn't get the drawers fully open to inspect because that unit butts up against the unit hidden by my pink fluffy chair that sits under my desk on the back wall.  The two small pink units will stay for support of the desktop.  Luckily they hold paints, inks, stamp pads and such so the mice haven't been interested, yet anyway!

You can see some of my new storage bins there on the left, the ones with the green lids.  The mess to the right and back is all the drawers of fabric I pulled out so far and either have thrown the contents away as too damaged and the rest are alright and waiting to be re-organized into their new "green" homes!  The drawers were nice and neet stacked on top of one another but I needed something at the back of my studio and I knocked them over.  Too tired to re-stack them and I have to re-inspect them before moving them to their new storage anyway, so.......

That's my work desk on the back wall of my studio piled with stuff from some of my yarn drawers and things from my work desk at the front of the room.  I at first thought I would move that desk to the left wall but since have changed my mind so that is one less task of moving heavy stuff!  You can see boxes of yarn all over the place that came out from storage drawers on the right wall.  Everything is wrapped in flimsy plastic bags right now... I figured something was better than nothing for the short term while I awaited the new containers.

Here you can see the white cubical storage units I installed this past summer.  Luckily they don't contain too many things mice are interested in so so far no issues on the right wall, except they did get into one of the little open cubbies that holds my leather pieces for jewelry making.  The only thing they did in that bin however was to store stolen cat crunchies from my kitty's bowl, which left oil marks on pieces of the lighter leather... (sigh)  Oh well, I will just dye those pieces and that should do the trick, I hope!

And, last but not least - those gray and white cubes on the right in the closet hold all of my yarn.  They are having to be replaced as well.  I cleaned them out of mouse damaged yarn and wrapped everything temporarily in plastic bags, which I know isn't much of a deterrent so I will pull them all out once I get the rest of the studio back in order and put my yarn in new containers as well.
Whew, I'm tired already!!
Today is the big day so I am off to start vacuuming up mouse mess and restoring my studio and what's left of my fabric and yarn.

Next installment will be all the closets in the house... eeek!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

They Are Made From What?!

Just a quick little post today - a tutorial that is awesome, well I think it is anyway!!!
You must go look at the tutorial for these bowls creation over at Joan Bess' blog!  You will be totally surprised as to how they are made!  I know for sure these babies are going on my "to-do project list!"

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Five on Friday - Installation 2

Wow does time fly!  I can't believe I haven't blogged a single word since just before Christmas... YIKES.  However, I have been busy with lots of projects, and a Big unexpected one but more on that later.  Today is Five on Friday and you haven't popped over to hear me whine :D

If you are new here,  Five on Friday is a meme hosted by Amy over at Love Made My Home. Every Friday a different group of us post five things that have significance to us, which obviously leaves the whole oyster open to subject matter!

This week my Five are:

1. New projects on the ole' crochet hooks.  I've never been one to be able to discipline myself to work on one project at a time to completion before beginning another.  Generally I have at least 5 or more projects going at once, which also explains why it takes me so long to finish any one WIP! Alas, discipline has never been one of my strong points, lol.  I'm rather like a butterfly flitting from one pretty flower to another! :D  Anyway, three of my current WIP's...  Did I also mention that I am one of the tortoises of the crochet world?! LOL!

This is my first attempt with this particular pattern and I am really loving it!  I purchased this lovely heathered grey wool along with the white from Knitpicks over the summer during one of their sales. Although I love color I have always had an attraction to the contrast between neutral lights and darks. Once this throw is finished I am going to start one using colors... so stay tuned :D

I've have been in love with the African flower pattern ever since I first saw it a couple of years ago.  Again, this is my first go at this pattern and it is put together a little differently than the traditional by not ending in octagon shapes.  Not to worry though, once this one is finished I am chomping at the bit to make an octagon African Flower throw.  There was just something that drew me to the colors this pattern used and I was lucky enough to have just those colors in my stash!

I don't know if any of you recall last year around this time I began working on a pale yellow Willow square pattern but it has greatly evolved since then.  At first I was planning on making it in solid pale yellow.  After making the squares I decided some soft contrast was needed so I ripped out the last two rows leaving just the central portion of the Willow square.  It has taken some trial and error and a lot of pondering until I finally decided on the white border.  I wish my old computer had not died before I could move my photos over to my external hard drive so I could show you the before and after...  but I am really loving the lacy border I came up with.  The squares are weighing in at a hefty 10" each so I may not even have to add the lacy border I had in mind once the squares are all stitched together... we'll have to wait and see...

2.  A short story of a tiny villain - a couple living in a 100+ year old converted barn,
and Sir Raphael the cat.

THE VILLAIN - the Mouse
 SIR RAPHAEL - the Hero


Living very rural in the woods of New Hampshire in an over 100 year old converted barn comes with many pleasures as well as some unexpected not so pleasant things.  Of course power outages are frequent, getting snowed in also happens often but one thing I had never given much thought to until just recently is - MICE!!!

Of course I have my precious Raphael, my brown tiger kitty but he is getting on in years and due to diabetes this past summer his eye sight has diminished severely.

I find now that I greatly under estimated Raphael's mousing prowess!  The mice have sensed this change in hunting behavior and have been, unbeknownst to me, enjoying themselves immensely in my yarn stash as well as my rather large quilting fabric stash. Eating and all the other nasty messes they make I have lost almost half of my fabric as well as two quilts that were almost completed!!!  I was beside myself but then I decided this is just a natural part of living a rural life. So, once again my studio is torn apart while I clean, throw out the damaged items and await the arrival of new plastic storage bins with snap shut lids. I'm trying to put my big girl panties on and just deal with it but when I start thinking about it tears do come to my eyes... c'est la vie!!!  Lesson learned!!!

3. Some of the things I love seeing in the winter. An early morning with the sun glistening off the fresh snow that fell the night before sparkling like a field of tiny diamonds scattered all over the ground; the huge icicles that form off the sides of the porch where the sun hits during mid-day melting the piles of snow sitting on the roof only to turn quickly into long crystal ice daggers hanging perilously in the air.

(image courtesy Google images)

4. My antique 1918 hand crank Singer Sewing Machine.  I actually sold off my precious way too complicated Bernina 1630 computerized baby for this simple but fantastic model.  Her name is Madeline - she is so easy to use and the stitches are gorgeous!  I am amazed at how much control one has with a hand cranked machine!  Best of all even when the power goes out I can still sew!

please excuse all the stuff on the table around her... I told you my studio is in complete disarray due to the mouse issue.  I will upload pictures once the studio is put back together again, hopefully in a week or so.

5.  My current reading material, aside from my precious Stampington Press magazines of course is

Please make sure to pop over and visit all the other ladies that are posting today

Nicole from My Garden Diaries

Julie from Julie's Lifestyle

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Five On Friday - My First Installment

Hi everyone!  I know, I've been away for a couple of weeks... trying to get my WIP's and UFO's all organized into a cohesive pile so I know what is actually out there in my studio, lol! 

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to join in on Five On Friday to take a little breather from the week and share five things -perhaps from the week, or some favorites or, well, you just never know what will pop up on my Five on Friday posts.  So, lets get started, shall we?... Oh, these are the other gals that are the week 3 Five on Friday group:

Beth (that would be me) from The Whimsical Dowager - you are here now

1. I just love YouTube.  The things one can learn there is mind boggling.  You can learn to knit, er, my success so far has been less than stellar but nonetheless you can learn if your fingers are your friends :D  You can learn about anthropology, culture... well, you name it really.  This week I came upon a video about 3 women from Appalachia all born in the early part of the last century.  It is a long video by YouTube standards but this is about heritage and life in a different time, told by the women themselves. (admittedly my interest comes from one of my other lifetimes when I was an anthropologist but I do hope some of you at least will find this fascinating from a sisterhood sort of perspective if nothing else)..

2. My second for this week is Pinterest, well really for any week but this week I thought I would share my newly re-kindled love of embroidery.  Are you beginning to notice a theme connecting the things I love? (I love learning!)...

3. Number three is by far one of my top of the favorites list... a snowy winter day (yes, I am one of "those;"! I love cloudy days whether it be rain, fog or yes, even snow!

4. Is being curled up on the sofa under a warm fluffy throw in front of the fireplace with a good book -  One of my most recent favorite reads
5. And last but not least - my favorite warm beverage of choice in the cold New Hampshire winter months is hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows (OK, I also have another favorite, a cinnamon cappuccino topped with lots of frothy milk) 
Did I mention gingerbread?  Oh but that would be six things... maybe no one is looking and I will just sneak this last one in.  After all, look at those cute little houses! :D
Thanks for visiting... and keep warm for all of you in the northern hemisphere!